Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Fog City

As he looked out into the water at the corner of Fillmore and Broadway, he recalled his previous journey to PacHeights. It had been December 11, 2008, when he was at a different crossroad in life. He had turned off his cell phone in the morning and set out on foot across Fog City, starting the day at Fog City News, then heading over to Chez Carla on Pine, proceeding to walk down Bush St, where he discovered Babylon Falling, continuing a longer trek to St. Mary’s Cathedral, and eventually winding up in a Peet’s Coffee on Fillmore, where he recorded the day’s events and his reflections on what options to explore after graduation. There were few decisions of consequence made that day except for one: he would table an academic career path, stopping what had been his trajectory up to that point. After reaching that decision, he continued to walk through Fog City, heading over to Fort Mason (a site for HOBA 2006), Fisherman’s Wharf, Francisco Middle School (a site for HOBA 2007), North Beach and Ristorante Ideale, before finally leaving Fog City and returning to his apartment.

Today was different. He lived in Fog City now and, hearing that it was supposed to rain the next day, decided to take his bike out for a spin. He decided to try to find a convenient bike route to PacHeights. Mission success! He then decided to try some hot chocolate at the Bittersweet Cafe while puzzling over how to represent a mathematical curiosity that had been bothering him for a day or two. A few doodles later, and he decided to claim victory. A few doodles after that, he decided the “Mission Accomplished” banner had been premature. He decided to set aside the drawings and took out Jeff Sharlet’s The Family, which he had started after finishing Kafka on the Shore. He had decided to save this week’s New Yorker for his bus rides during the week.

They were all decisions of little consequence. Should he be tackling bigger issues? He left the cafe and started walking up Fillmore. He passed by the Peet’s he had been in not so long ago before reaching the corner of Fillmore and Broadway. There were steps going down, but at the current altitude, the view was spectacular. He stood there, admiring it for a few minutes before turning back. Along the way, he noticed Alta Plaza Park and took a detour through it. The park offered a view of his hill in Fog City, easy to locate because Sutro Tower hovered behind it.

He thought about the last decision of consequence he had made in this area, roughly two years ago. It had helped lead him to this point, a state of relative comfort, if not consequence. Comfort or consequence? Could they coexist? He reflected on the questions but just briefly. The time was needling towards 6PM, and there was a more pressing decision to be made.

He returned to Fillmore and passed by La Med. After a moment’s pause, he decided to cook dinner at home. He returned to his bike and pedaled towards Divisadero, then to The Panhandle, and finally turning a corner to stop at a bicycle shop. He filled some air in the bike’s tires before pedaling up a short incline to reach his apartment.


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